Tuesday’s rescue of three stranded hikers near Pitt Lake reinforces Coquitlam Search and Rescue’s (Coq SAR) decision to develop a Helicopter External Transportation System (HETS) rescue team. “Having the equipment and training within our own team enables us to respond more quickly and efficiently,” say Garry Mancell, President for Coq SAR. “HETS has become an increasingly important tool in search and rescue in BC and it is imperative that a team as active and well trained as Coquitlam develop their own capacity.”
Until funding is secured to cover the cost of the equipment and training Coq SAR will continue to rely upon North Shore Rescue to assist in these kinds of rescues. “In fact, Nick Zupan, one of Coq SAR’s own members was the Team Leader in charge of that HETS rescue,” Mancell continued, “Nick is himself HETS certified and did three of the six HETS extractions that day.”
The implications of not having the equipment and trained personal within the team is a potential delay in a rescue. “Despite the excellent relationship we have with neighboring teams, like us, their first priority is to their region. We can’t risk our members and our subjects to a delay when we should have the resources to be able to service our region properly. Safety is a priority for us and delays caused by not being HETS capable can negatively impact our members and the people we are rescuing. That is simply unacceptable.”
Coq SAR currently has two members fully trained and certified in HETS but not the equipment. In order to run a proper HETS team, eight members would need to be certified and approximately $30,000 worth of gear is required. The total cost of getting a team fully trained and equipped is approximately $60,000. Coquitlam SAR has funding requests into the BC’s Community Gaming Grants and The Spirit of Coquitlam Grant programs as well as various community groups. If you would like to help out you can make a donation to Coquitlam SAR by selecting the “Donate Now” button on this web page.